Sunday, December 9, 2012

Part 2: My Spicy Grenadian Christmas Wish List

Continuing with the Spicyness of the season.....let's talk about Ginger!

2. Ginger (Zingiber Officinale)

Ginger Milk Fudge, Orange Ginger Chicken, Ginger Snaps, Ginger Beer.....My love for this spice goes beyond dreaming. It's the first flavor I look for when I need to satisfy my sweet tooth. This root food is available all year round in the Caribbean and doesn't need tending and watering like your usual plants. It reminds me a lot of those cute dogs that run around the village but you never know who they belong to.

This easy-to-find spice is very popular in the Eastern Hemisphere for its medicinal and flavor properties. Ginger gives a full punch of amino and fatty acids, gingerols, essential oils and minerals which is why you should be careful not to overdose. When I first arrived to China, my body took awhile adjusting to the environment. My food was a victim of quick exits and extreme flus would put me out of commission for weeks. One call to my grand-aunty back home and my problems were solved.  By drinking strongly brewed and sweetened ginger tea, my discomfort was reduced and I bounced back to life. The results were amazingly fast, even to my Chinese friends who still insisted that I buy medication. It has been proven to treat nausea, eases digestive track complications, respiratory track blockage and is still in preliminary trails for its effects on the circulatory. So basically, here is a spice that works wonders on all parts of your body.

The second great thing about ginger is its ability to move from the medicine cabinet to the kitchen. Chinese cuisine heavily relies on ginger and garlic for its meats, veggies and pickled treats. Indian curry uses ginger and one of her sisters, turmeric, to give it that signature taste. They are also known for their powdered teas. Those are the real deal! Half a tea bag cleared all the gas from my tank with out the embarrassing side effects and just taste really good!   

The reason why Ginger made my wish list is because no Christmas is complete with out................GINGER BEER!! And even though it's 3 degrees Celsius here..come December 25th, I will be drinking a tall, cold glass of ginger beer. 

WARNING: Please note that the recipe below is for the strong hearted. The ice will do NOTHING to ease the fire that roars through your chest. If you prefer a lighter taste, please use half the ginger prescribed.

Transcontinental Ginger Beer

4 pieces of large fresh ginger (yes..fresh is best!)
White sugar to taste
4 heads of clove

1. Peel and grate the fresh ginger. Place in a glass pitcher with the cloves, add hot water and cover. Leave to stand over night. This allows fermentation and adds strength.

2. Now it's the next day. Strain and add sugar to taste. More sugar makes the burn easier to swallow but careful, cuz a lot of that sweet isn't good for you.

3. Transfer to a bottle and freeze. When it's time to drink, allow to thaw and pour yourself what you think you can handle. 
This drink is perfect for card games and dares.